Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:42 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 12:46 pm

Damaged MSU chair sells for thousands at auction

The Spartans' seat got the John Hancock of Fran McCaffery and sold for big bucks. (via Matt Weitzel)
By Matt Norlander

The best way to get good PR out of a bad situation, if possible, is to alter course and turn bad to better by infusing a charitable donation into the mishap.

After Fran McCaffery got needlessly angry a month ago by awkwardly and violently throwing a chair in the team huddle, the coach and the program did good. They sold the abused seat at an auction Sunday night in Tiffin, Iowa. It went for $2,100, according to Iowa basketball and baseball sports information director Matt Weitzel.

The chair was up for grabs at the Iowa Steak Fry, a fundraising event for the Iowa baseball team that's taken place the past three years. Other items up for auction included a framed/autographed Jay Cutler jersey, a Chicago Cubs "dream package" to attend Wrigley Field (photo ops and meetings with players on the field included), an autographed Ron Santo poster, signed Iowa football memorabilia and more.

But was the chair you see there truly the one that felt the ire of McCaffery? Ah-ha. That is the catch; the answer is unknown. The brainchild behind this particular auction item was not anyone with the basketball program. Iowa's baseball coach, Jack Dahm, thought the chair could be a huge seller at the Steak Fry. He was right.

Dahm reached out to Michigan State baseball coach Jake Boss, Jr. last week and inquired about the chair.

"We're not 100 percent sure it's the same chair," Weitzel said.

Regardless, Boss got over to the Breslin Center and made sure a chair was taken. Iowa paid for the shipping and it was in Tiffin by Saturday. What do you think, has that chair seem some rough days? Of course it has. It's likely been sat on by Draymond Green dozens of times.

Cool of Iowa to do this and it's nice to see McCaffery still embraces his antics, even if they can be over the top in the moment.
Posted on: January 18, 2012 12:24 am
Edited on: January 18, 2012 9:23 am

Night Court: Western Carolina wins by ... 102?!

Trey Burke had 20 points, including the game-winning assist, to lead Michigan to a 60-59 win over Michigan St. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Michigan struggled defensively for much of the second half, but the Wolverines came up big down the stretch to hold on to a 60-59 victory over Michigan State. Stu Douglass made the game-winning layup with 36.5 seconds left, off a terrific pass from Trey Burke. Draymond Green missed a potential game-winning shot and tip-in on the Spartans’ final possession. Burke led the way with 20 points.

Win to brag about: Beating Maryland in itself isn’t that impressive, but Florida State continues to turn it around after an embarrassing loss to Clemson two weeks ago. The Seminoles used a 21-3 run in the second half to dispatch of the Terrapins, 84-70. For a team that has the reputation of being offensively inept, Florida State has now scored at least 84 points in three of its last five games. Ian Miller and Okaro White combined for 31 points off the bench.

Loss to hide from: I have no clue how Toccoa Falls does against its usual competition (it's 3-6), but it apparently can’t handle Division-I opposition. Western Carolina had nine guys score in double figures, defeating the Eagles, 141-39. The Catamounts outrebounded Toccoa Falls 62-16, and only three players did not reach double-figures in scoring.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Anthony Davis has had several impressive performances this season, but Tuesday’s game took the cake. The Kentucky freshman had 27 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks to lead the Wildcats to an 86-63 win over Arkansas. Moreover, he broke the school’s single-season record for blocks – with 12 games left in the regular season.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Texas Tech’s Jordan Tolbert has been one of the most underrated freshmen in the country this season, but Tuesday didn’t show that. Tolbert went just 1-for-10 from the field and turned it over five times before fouling out. The Red Raiders lost to Oklahoma, 64-55.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 3: After losing 18 of 21 in the rivalry, Michigan has now defeated Michigan State three straight times.
  • 102: The margin in Western Carolina’s win over Toccoa Falls was the third-largest in Division-I history.
  • 15: It’s been 15 years since an SEC player had 27 points, 14 boards and seven blocks in a game. Anthony Davis did it tonight.

Three other notable results:

  1. With first place in the Big South on the line, UNC-Asheville improved to 8-0 with a victory over second-place Coastal Carolina. J.P. Primm had 23 points, helping UNCA overcome six guys scoring in double-figures for Coastal.
  2. Purdue bounced back from last week’s loss to Wisconsin with a 75-68 win over Iowa. The Boilermakers overcame a five-point halftime deficit.
  3. Jason Clark scored 31 points despite going just 4-for-9 from the free-throw line, leading Georgetown to an 83-75 road win at DePaul.


  • The lone overtime game on Tuesday was between LSU and Auburn. Auburn’s Varez Ward sent it into an extra session with a 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left, but LSU dominated the overtime for a 65-58 win.
  • Boise State freshman Anthony Drmic had a chance to make a name for himself early in Mountain West play, but he shot just 1-for-8 from the field in a 66-55 loss to Colorado State.
  • North Dakota State, currently 6-2 in Summit League play, went into North Dakota – a team with three D-I wins this season – and lost, 59-54.
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: January 14, 2012 5:09 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 5:17 pm

Guess who loses on the road? Almost everybody

By Gary Parrish

My colleague Jeff Borzello wrote earlier about the difficulty of winning away games because he knew we were about to start a Saturday featuring nine ranked teams playing unranked teams on the road, and we all knew at least one of them (and probably more) would take a loss.

How'd we know, you ask?

Because it happens every weekend.

Ranked teams lose to unranked teams on the road with great regularity. It's as much a part of the sport as recruiting scandals and Dick Vitale. And though I realize everybody knows this and basicaly accepts it as a fact of life, I do wonder if most fans truly understand just how difficult it is to win away games.

The proof is in the details.

Consider that the four Final Four participants (Connecticut, Butler, Kentucky and VCU) combined to go 23-24 in true road games last season, and that the 2010 national champion (Duke) finished 5-5 in true road games. Translation: Even the best often struggle away from home, and only elite power-conference schools (North Carolina in 2009 comes to mind) regularly avoid the upsets most cannot.

So fans of No. 18 Kansas State can be upset with that loss at unranked Oklahoma. And fans of No. 13 Michigan can be upset with that loss at unranked Iowa. And fans of No. 7 Michigan State can be upset with that loss at unranked Northwestern. And fans of No. 3 North Carolina can be upset with that loss at unranked Florida State (especially since it was so lopsided). They're all losses and fans hate to lose. So I understand. But the reality is that these types of losses, in this sport, just kinda happen. Sometimes, sure, they represent a sign that a team might be as overrated as the cliched chant suggests. But in most cases, honestly, it's just the price you pay for going on the road.
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:39 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 10:48 am

McCaffery makes chair-throwing display worse

McCaffery could have apologized for losing his cool. Instead, he praised his behavior. (AP)

By Matt Norlander

I’ve met Fran McCaffery a couple of times. He’s a pleasant interview, even following a loss, which as you can imagine is not always the case with coaches. It speaks well of a man when he can be civil and even show measured human emotion to reporters after a group of 19-year-olds fail to accomplish a task he stressed about over the previous 72 hours.

Nowadays I don’t know what McCaffery’s thinking. The Iowa coach took out his anger on a Michigan State chair Tuesday night, and so that turned into a thing. It was a featured segment on dinnertime ESPN programming, and a number of mainstream blogs vultured the video as soon as it entered YouTube’s orbit.

McCaffery held a press conference in Iowa City Thursday, primarily to discuss Saturday’s upcoming game against Michigan, but he was of course also asked about the chair-hate incident. Surprisingly, the 52-year-old coach said he had no regret over the spectacle that made him look like a belligerent maniac, equal parts ridiculously out of control and out of touch. Modern coaches don’t motivate by chucking inanimate objects in the vicinity of their players. This is not 1982. McCaffery looked outdated. In that moment, he became a caricature, a reminder of how silly old-school coaching mentality can be.

Here’s how McCaffery made himself look even worse when asked if he had regrets about his temper tantrum.

“No, not at all.  If anybody thinks I'm going to sit there with my hands crossed when we're down by 40, they got the wrong guy, OK. I was brought in here to change the culture.”

Let’s stop right there. Change the culture? Damaging opposing teams’ property -- floor and seat -- by power-bombing a folding chair is a good culture change? That’s the kind of behavior a 17-year-old wants to see when he’s choosing between Iowa, Iowa State, Creighton, Minnesota or Nebraska? How does reacting the way you did improve the look and culture of Iowa basketball?

“I'm going to coach with passion, and my players know that,” McCaffery continued. “They also know I'm going to fight for them. So as far as that's concerned, a lot of people like to infer what was going on or what was being said. Nobody knows what I was saying. Nobody knows what we were discussing during that timeout except for me and my players.”

The discussion definitely seemed civil. An Algonquin meeting on the hardwood. Fact is, I really don’t care what McCaffery was saying; it’s of no relevance. What we saw was enough. It’s a bad, bad look for coaches and for the sport. Bob Knight is just as remembered for playing discus with a flimsy chair as he is for winning three national titles and 902 games. Watch the video again. Iowa's players give a resounding non-reaction, like this red-faced berating has become the norm.

“I have no regrets, I have no apologies, none whatsoever,” McCaffery said. “I'm going to continue to coach the same way, and we're going to keep working, improving, and battling, and fighting until we're up by 40.”

You can’t chair-chuck your way to 40-point wins. The longer McCaffery talked, the more laughable the defense became, saying his outburst was “toward the players to take care of what was happening in the game.” When McCaffery felt the need to show his players how they could turn that ship around by bodyslamming that poor chair, Iowa trailed by 28. It never closed the gap after that, not even to 27. Ultimately, the Hawkeyes lost by 34, the worst loss Iowa's suffered since McCaffery came on board in 2010. The coach’s defenseless defense continued when he was asked if he heard from the Big Ten about the incident, he said, “No, nor should I have.”

And this is why Brad Stevens was in the past two national title games and McCaffery won’t get to a Final Four so long as he’s acting like a 9-year-old who just got told he can’t have a dessert that was promised to him. I’m not opposed to coaches getting fired up, yelling during timeouts and even slamming a clipboard out of frustration. But to actually take the time to make a demonstration of lifting up a vacated chair and tossing it to the ground, like that’s going to do anything, is an embarrassment to what McCaffery strives to achieve.

Posted on: December 31, 2011 3:31 pm
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Posted on: December 31, 2011 3:30 pm

Iowa upsets Wisconsin at the Kohl Center

By Jeff Borzello

Kentucky vs. Louisville occupied most of the college basketball world’s attention during the early part of Saturday afternoon, but it was another result that caught everyone’s eyes.

Wisconsin lost. At home. To Iowa.

You read that right. For the first time since Bo Ryan took over at Wisconsin, the Badgers lost a home conference opener. The Badgers are normally unbeatable at home, but they fell 72-65 to a 9-6 Iowa team that lost by 16 at home to Campbell earlier this season.

Wisconsin shot just 35 percent from the field, including 3-for-28 from 3-point range. Jordan Taylor was 7-for-19 shooting the ball. The most surprising part about the game was Wisconsin’s defense, or lack thereof. Iowa shot 49.2 percent from the field and outrebounded the Badgers.

Heading into Saturday, Wisconsin had the nation’s best defensive efficiency and ranked No. 13 in defensive rebounding percentage, only allowing second chances on 25.7 percent of possessions. Yet Iowa grabbed 37 percent of its misses and scored 1.09 points per possessions. The Badgers were allowing fewer than 0.79 PPP going into the game.

It’s not time to write Wisconsin off or anything like that. After all, it’s still 2011 and no one ever wants to see a Bo Ryan-coached team line up across the court from them. However, when the Badgers’ defense isn’t extremely effective, they really struggle to win. All three of Wisconsin’s losses came in its three worst defensive games of the season, and the Badgers simply don’t have the firepower offensively to make up for it.

Jordan Taylor has received more defensive attention this season, and he has struggled to adapt at times. He also isn’t getting consistent help. Tonight, Ben Brust and Jared Berggren combined to shoot 10-for-30 from the field, including 1-for-14 from 3-point range.

As for Iowa, it goes without saying that this is a huge win. The Hawkeyes came close to knocking off Purdue during the week, but they got over the hump on Saturday. Melsahn Basabe had 14 points and nine rebounds, while Bryce Cartwright and Aaron White combined for 35 points off the bench. Roy Devyn Marble came up big down the stretch, hitting a couple of important jumpers.

This game further muddles the Big Ten pecking order. Who is the second-best team in the league, after Ohio State?

After Saturday, it’s tough to say Wisconsin.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:55 am

Villanova captain Isaiah Armwood transferring

By Jeff Goodman

Jay Wright doesn’t want Isaiah Armwood to leave.

But the Villanova coach wants what’s best for the Wildcats captain – and that’s an opportunity to play a major role in another program.

Therefore, the 6-foot-8 junior has decided to transfer elsewhere.

``He’s the greatest kid in the world,” Wright gushed. ``He’s our hardest-working guy, our captain. We started him every game on our trip. I love him to death.”

``I just want to see him achieve his goals,” he added.

Wright sat down with Armwood at the end of the trip to France and the Netherlands and the two, days later, came to an agreement that it would be best for Armwood to go elsewhere.

With the addition of frontline guys JayVaughn Pinkston and Marcus Kennedy – along with starting center Mouph Yarou back – minutes would likely be precious for Armwood.

The Maryland native started seven games last season, averaging 2.5 points and 3.6 rebounds.

If he leaves prior to the start of school, he’ll sit out this season and have two years of eligibility remaining.

Sources told CBSSports.com that schools in the mix for Armwood are Maryland, Iowa, Texas Tech and George Washington. Armwood grew up near Maryland and GW and both Iowa and Texas Tech have former Villanova assistant coaches – Andrew Francis (Iowa) and Chris Walker (Texas Tech). 

Posted on: August 3, 2011 11:08 am
Edited on: August 3, 2011 11:09 am

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

By Matt Norlander

One of these things looks just like the other?

Nine years after the Southern Miss logo became official, folks affiliated with the University of Iowa still aren't too fond of the Golden Eagle. That Golden Eagle which looks so menacing and concerned over the perpetual mediocre state of Conference USA, where it resides. (That's Southern Miss on the left and Iowa on the right, in case you need the clarification.)

In 2004 there was a push to make USM change its logo, but that didn't pan out.

But Iowa recently brought the issue to officials again, thanks to a trademark attempt on behalf of Southern Miss. That attempt failed, as the United States Patent and Trademark Office thought the two bird brains looked too much alike. Now USM is in a bit of a scramble. Could Southern Miss be forced to change its logo in the near-future? Think about how much money would have to go into that -- changing uniforms, fields, courts. New shirts, pants, hats, etc.
Jason Bush, an attorney with Baker Donelson in Jackson, said USM could appeal the decision, which was made by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.

“In the alternative,” wrote Bush in an email, “USM has the option of presenting additional evidence or raising additional claims in the United States District Court in any district venue that is proper.”

Giannini and other USM officials have long argued that the logos bare little resemblance.

USM unveiled its new Golden Eagle logo in January 2003 in an overhaul of the athletic department’s brand — and it quickly became part of the school’s athletic identity.

This comes down to money. Schools want to sell gear. Similar logos blend brands. Iowa is a much bigger brand than Southern Miss. Here's what one of the judges, David Bucher, told the Des-Moines Register:

“Specifically, (USM) argues that each of the Iowa Hawkeyes marks is a collection of four separate silhouette shapes put together in close proximity creating a two dimensional image that is then displayed against backgrounds of changing colors. (USM) suggests that each Iowa Hawkeyes mark has the simplicity of a stenciled or stamped image. By contrast, Southern Miss argues that its new eagle head is more complex, having the “fierce eyed gaze of independence” and the “black peak of the beak” to create a “symbol of courage and power, reminiscent of Roman soldiers … going into battle [with] a crimson banner with a golden eagle emblazoned on the banner.”

Bucher wrote that he found fault in USM’s argument:

“The overall similarity in appearance of the marks on the goods, particularly in light of the use of identical color schemes, creates virtually identical commercial impressions.”

What do you think? Are they similar enough? I really don't think so. But now I'm rooting for these two to somehow line up in a 7-10 NCAA tournament game next March.
Category: NCAAB
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